Sonar is a blog about marketing, code and coffee from Submarine.

UI idea: advanced search buttons

Good user interfaces cater for both new users and power users, but I think that great UIs also help to turn new users into power users.

Recently, I've been thinking about how to do that with Submarine. Submarine is a CRM that collects contact data for marketing and PR teams, and then (amongst other things) lets you search through that data to find things like all the people you emailed a month ago who never replied, or all your contacts who have more than 2000 Twitter followers.

You can do that by searching using commands like "last emailed more than (1 month ago)" or "twitter followers > 2000". If you're a power user, you may be able to remember those commands - but if you're new, you probably won't. In either case, it's nice to not have to commit things like that to memory.

To help make those advanced searches easy, simple and intuitive, I've been experimenting with the idea of advanced search buttons. Clicking an advanced search icon now reveals a small series of buttons below the search bar:

Submarine advanced search

Clicking on one will then add the command into the search field, and will automatically select any text that could be replaced.

The benefit here is that it doesn't force users to remember the command, but they get to see it every time they use one of the buttons.

Published April, 2014

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